Alex Saum-Pascual: Exhibitions, Research, and Writing

13 Aug, 2015

Alex Saum-Pascual: Exhibitions, Research, and Writing

The university may be quiet over the summer, but our faculty and students are hard at work! Learn more about the research life with this update from Alex Saum-Pascual on her summer activities. This blog post was originally published on August 1, 2015 on Alex Saum-Pascual's blog la condición.

What I've been up to this summer (and what's to come)

Time flies when you are... working. Although I've been enjoying some free time, this summer I have mostly been working. Here is a little update on what I've been doing, and what's to come.

I had the opportunity to attend DHSI again this year, and took part in a terrific electronic literature class, Advanced Criticism and Authoring of Electronic Literature, facilitated by Dene Grigar, Sandy Baldwin and Aaron Reed. This was the continuation of another e-lit class I took last year, an introduction to e-lit also facilitated by Grigar and Baldwin, together with Davin Heckman and Marjorie Luesebrink (a.k.a. MD Coverley). As always, class and the people in it were fascinating and stimulating. Élika Ortega came to Victoria as well and we had the chance to keep working on our current e-lit adventure, No Legacy || Literatura electrónica. This is a large project that includes an exhibit and book project (more on this soon) that look at literary histories, the relation between literature and other media, and Spanish and Portuguese experimentalism. No Legacy will be opening in Berkeley on March 2016, but this exhibit is part of a larger series of exhibits, Literatura electrónica: A Transatlantic Series, that will be taking place in Mexico (City) and Spain (Barcelona). No Legacy will also be funded by a grant I was awarded by the Hellman Fellows Program, as the exhibit is part of my current (and much larger) e-lit project. Other collaborators are my own wonderful BCNM and Doe Library. I will write more about this, and about No Legacy in particular, soon, so please stay tuned.

I have always tried to incorporate my research into my teaching, and I am happy when these activities blend into each other in an organic way. Last semester I taught a grad seminar in Hispanic e-lit, and I am lucky to be teaching another e-lit class in Spring 2016. This is a new, experimental, class, Electronic Literature: A Critical Writing and Making Course, where students will be able to critique and analyze electronic art and literature (learning specific terminology and theoretical frameworks), as they gain the skills to build their own digital art pieces. I will be developing this course in the Fall, thanks to a grant by the Mellon Foundation. I could not be happier about this, and I feel honored to have been awarded this terrific DH grant. To read more about all my e-lit related projects at Cal, please look at Camille Villa's write up in the DH at Berkeley blog.

Still within the realm of e-lit, I was happy to see my article "Literatura española post-web: al borde de lo virtual, lo material y la historia. El caso de Jordi Carrión" published in the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies. In this article (full text here through Project MUSE) I explore how Carrión's Crónica de viaje sits at the perfect juncture of two types of culture (print and digital) as they manifest in post-transition and post-crisis Spain. I wonder if the text's digital rhetorics and aesthetics are a means to reject the contemporary "democratic" canon (mostly modern) in Spain, in decay since the onset of this century's financial crises.

Also this summer, and just a few days ago, Sur+ Ediciones republished Cristina Rivera Garza's Dolerse: Textos desde un país herido. I had the incredible opportunity to participate with an article, "Por qué Dolerse: La relevancia de un texto híbrido," on Cristina's original book, part of the collective volume that accompanies this reedition, Condolerse. In Rivera Garza's words: "Condolerse se trata de un libro que es, a su vez, una conversación, una visita, una insistencia. Un sampleo. Un loop y un remix. Y una alterada alteración. Somos más ahora: Yásnaya Elena Aguilar Gil, Marina Azahua, Amaranta Caballero Prado, Elda Cantú, Roberto Cruz Arzabal, Irmgard Emmelhainz, Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Mónica Nepote, Diego Enrique Osorno, Javier Raya, Ignacio Sánchez Prado, Alexandra Saum-Pascual, Ingrid Solana, Eugenio Tisselli y Sara Uribe; autores de México y España y Estados Unidos han contribuido con sus propias reflexiones y procesos para acrecentar la capacidad de nuestra escucha. Por desgracia, somos más; por fortuna".

Now that the summer is almost over, I will be preparing myself for a couple of exciting talks I will be delivering in Mexico City and Madrid in October. I am happy to be talking about my experiences teaching e-lit in Spanish in the U.S. at Máquinas de inminencia: estéticas de la literatura electrónica at the UNAM on October 9th (more on this soon). At the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, I will be participating in their conference Reading Wide, Writing Wide in the Digital Age on October 22nd (check out the program here).

I am fortunate not to be teaching in the Fall, so I will be able to devote myself fully to all these new exciting projects. I hope to find time to keep this blog updated as I move along, so keep reading if you want to learn more!